DEAR MISS MANNERS: What am I to do when acquaintances (sometimes people to whom I have just been introduced at a party) ask me if I am married and then proceed to grill me on the reasons that I am not? They invariably pronounce me too attractive, bright, etc., not to be married, and I am really stymied as to an appropriate response. Actually, I have a few thoughts, but I know you would not approve.
GENTLE READER: Some people have trouble learning that it is the meat that is supposed to be grilled at parties, not the guests. Miss Manners would probably not approve of what you are considering, but she would allow you to listen to all that nonsense without comment and then say, "But enough about me. Now tell me about your love life."
DEAR MISS MANNERS: I am an employee at a fast food franchise. Yesterday, I had a very unfortunate experience with a patron who was angry at me because 1) I was unable to accept a $50 bill as payment for her meal and 2) I told her that I had to charge her 20 cents for a cup of water.
This is because our restaurant policy forbids me to break down larger bills (due to counterfeiting risks) or give out cups for free (because of inventory purposes). These policies were not set by me, but by the people in upper management.
It is important to realize that when scenarios such as the one above are encountered in a fast food restaurant (and, indeed, in many other areas of customer service), the service workers are not intending to be rude or inhospitable, but are merely acting on orders from upper management. We do not like these rules any more than the customer does, but we are required to follow them. Failure to do so can result in disciplinary action or even dismissal.
If a customer does not like the policies regarding customer service, a more appropriate (and productive) method of dealing with the situation is to report one's concerns to upper management. They are the ones who make and give the orders and are more likely to listen to feedback from customers than they are from subordinate employees.
GENTLE READER: Your point is a reasonable one, and Miss Manners hopes that customer anger is not expressed to you rudely, for which there would be no excuse. Nevertheless, she is afraid that you missed something.
You are not only the employee of this restaurant, who must follow its rules, but its representative to the customer. And, presumably, the company is interested in saving customers as well as money. If you find that its policy is alienating customers, you should report this to your superiors in a businesslike way.
You should also tell customers that you will pass on their complaints. While it is fine to inform them where to report, you should understand that people who come by for a fast meal are less likely to do paperwork to improve one chain than to defect to another.